Ebay Classic organs

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Why are lovely and amazing used organs suddenly going begging for takers?

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  • beel m
    replied
    Originally posted by don60 View Post
    P. T. Barnum would say that a sucker will indeed come along to buy a $20,000 organ for $65,000 after being assured that it is "half the cost" of a comparable new instrument...
    When I worked in the P & O business (40 years ago) I was young and dumb, but the experienced sales guys all seemed to believe that "You can put a load of deodorized manure in a prominent place in the store, along with a fancy sign 'REDUCED' and someone, sometime, will buy it!"
    R, Bill

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  • don60
    replied
    P. T. Barnum would say that a sucker will indeed come along to buy a $20,000 organ for $65,000 after being assured that it is "half the cost" of a comparable new instrument. Of course a comparable new instrument would sound better, be in factory-new condition, and have a 10-year warranty, but why be picky when a bargain is to be had?

    I am glad that Admin used the word "delusional," as I wanted to do so but feared legal repercussions. Let's just say the actions are delusional, not the person, and we should be fine.

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  • Admin
    replied
    Does anyone here think he can get $65k for this? The owner of this organ got $12k and I'll bet that it was listed on eBay only after he couldn't find a local buyer at any price.

    I might be outraged if our Florida Friend actually was able to get $65K, but who knows if he'll get his $12k back after expenses? Considering that he's trying to sell it on eBay where it sat for weeks without takers at $12k, asking and expecting to get $65k borders on delusional. Given the current state of the church organ market, if what's he's asking is out of line, only a complete idiot would pay that amount as there are plenty of alternatives.

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  • don60
    replied
    John, it is often even worse than you state. RWA typically does not even transport the purloined organs to Florida but rather lets them sit where they were purchased until he can flip them. If he succeeds in closing a sale, his transport man is dispatched for a pickup and delivery without that heralded "MITA technician" ever laying eyes on them, at least not at the main warehouse.

    As evidence, I will point out that his current eBay description of the 325 is reusing a photo from the original description (albeit a slightly cropped photo). If he had the organ in his possession and wanted the price of a small house for it, he would have set it up and taken his own photos.

    We have seen him engage in this practice before, of course, a memorable example being the MDS 75 in Maryland a couple of years ago. If nothing else, this reuse of the photos could be copyright infringement (everything on the Internet except for federal documents is usually copyrighted); certainly, it is an unsavory practice.

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  • jbird604
    replied
    Yep. IF this guy were actually providing some kind of added value on his flipped organs -- if he were in fact having them fully checked out, renovated as needed, maintenanced, cleaned up, and then delivered, professionally set up and installed, voiced, and with a warranty and some after-sale service, he could justifiably mark them up. But he provides none of that, except you could give him a little credit for scouring craigslist and bringing organs from all over the country into a central repository in Florida. But to mark something up more than 500% is just plain silly and there's not a chance in hades that he'll sell it for anywhere near that price.

    I know for a fact that his organs are not all "splendid" and that they are usually "fix-me-ups" in spite of his declarations to the contrary. Because I bought one from him a couple years ago. I was looking for a specific Allen model (2160) and he had one. I did haggle the price down a bit, but I'm sure he made some money off me, though I have to say I was pleased that he had what I needed when I needed it, and he even had it delivered to my door. But this "splendid" organ was filthy and had numerous problems that required a week of work before I could bring it in from the garage to the living room. So don't be fooled by his descriptions.

    I hope everyone understands that my little shop does in fact buy and re-sell organs for a profit -- at least we'd LIKE to be doing that now and then! And we are thrilled when we are able to pick up an organ for nearly nothing and then sell it for a few thousand dollars above what we have in it. That's called "business" and it's how we earn a living, besides servicing organs that other people sell.

    But there is a huge difference between what we do and what that guy does. Every organ that leaves our shop has been fully renovated as necessary to bring it up to like-new operating condition. Everything gets cleaned up, all routine maintenance is done, felt, rubber, and leather parts that are subject to wear will be replaced as needed. Batteries are replaced. Speaker cones will be replaced as needed. And every organ gets delivered and professionally installed by us, voiced to the room, and fully checked out after setup. A warranty of some kind is normally provided unless the purchaser foregoes the warranty to cut the price to the bone. So we EARN the profit that we make on our used organs. It's outrageous to think that this guy "earns" a profit of over $50K just by picking up this organ from somewhere and re-listing it on ebay. If you ever deal with him, just beware.

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  • don60
    replied
    FYI, our friend RWA has listed the Allen Quantum 325 on eBay for $65,000 after snapping it up for $12,000. Anything I could say about this fact would probably be removed by the moderator as libelous.

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  • indianajo
    replied
    I could get fully immersed in the music program as dictated by the hired professionals. That involves singing **** songs with $$$$$ of oriental **** on the stage that the salesman assures the leaders is the best. I'm supposed to sing soprano when I do that.
    Or I can tell them about once a year when they ask me again to join the choir, how awful it all is, and keep my mouth shut and my fingers on the seat cushion otherwise. The new professional music leader is not as bad as the old one, but he is convinced like all youth that music was invented by ******a. The beautiful sounding Baldwin pianos live in the gym as basketball targets. On stage is a *****y sounding ******a studio piano. The Rodgers organ, the one device assembled in the USA, is played occasionally rather basically by a lady who does sing soprano, and who made her living off taxes collected at the threat of a sheriff carrying a gun, like all the leaders of the church. Nobody needs a manufacturing job they feel: everybody should be school teachers or deputy sheriffs or soldiers. At least this bunch wasn't protesting in the streets against Iraq war 1 like the last place I went.
    The minister had a real problem with the George Winston arranged Holly & The Ivy offeratory I played in 1990, when he told me that playing would be done by professionals. He preaches a great sermon. He also hunts for a hobby, which explains the quality of his manly ears.
    The do sing one hymn out of the hymnal a service except Christmas & Easter. Once a decade when they are not playing a ******a or a *****d or a ***g I will sing bass with them. Last Christmas I got frustrated staying home to avoid hearing Go Tell it on the Mountain six services running, and joined the choir at a place with a nice Willis grand piano. When the leader/pianist noticed I know when to start, she asked me to direct: which I did. It was a nice cantata, if not entirely of my choosing. The sermons were about donating to the poor - good, but kind of a one note minister over 5 weeks.
    In warm weather I play a nice Baldwin studio I tuned myself out at a 6-18 attendee church near my summer camp. The director has great taste and when I pick an introit and recessional out of the hymnal, the old ladies sing along without being told the number. The country church has a Baldwin 46 organ with all new TG boards in 1994, but the "tuner" broke a tuning slug & I oouldn't repair it with the limited tools I keep out there. Out there I should be cutting up tree trash or mowing.
    Last edited by indianajo; 04-07-2016, 01:24 PM.

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  • MarkS
    replied
    Originally posted by indianajo View Post
    I'm still banned from using the Rodgers organ in my church, that is dedicated to the use of holders of the master's in music performance degree.
    What next? One must have a DMA in piano performance to play the Kimball Whitney Spinet in the old Sunday School room?

    If I never played another Rodgers would that be a bad thing?

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  • Mick Berg
    replied
    still banned from using the Rodgers organ in my church, that is dedicated to the use of holders of the master's in music performance degree.

    Banned from playing a Rodgers? You're serious? I was banned from playing my school's pipe organ for playing House of the Rising Sun but that's different.
    Mick

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  • jbird604
    replied
    JVDS,

    Interesting to hear about your experiences there in Ontario. Here in the middle of the US it's not very different. I've been in the organ business more or less for over 40 years now, spending 7 or 8 years as the Allen salesman for the local dealer, a number of years as the installer for Rodgers organs sold into this state, and the rest of that time as an independent servicer of Allen and Rodgers, as well as the scattered Johannus, Baldwin, and other minor brands. So if you call any music store in this state and ask about an organ guy you'll get my name and phone number.

    With my name out there like that, I get regular calls from folks wanting to dispose of organs of all kinds. Everything from the executors of some little old lady's estate trying to deal with an old Baldwin or Kimball or Hammond that hasn't been played in 20 years, to the occasional church with a perfectly decent Allen or Rodgers that has become a dusty hunk of furniture where they want to put the drum kit. Sometimes with unrealistic expectations of getting thousands of dollars, sometimes just wanting anyone to come haul it away.

    But my shop/warehouse is bursting at the seams with some pretty good organs that I can't sell. I've got one going out later this week to be used as the basis of a Hauptwerk project, and getting a decent price for it, since it's a fairly modern console that already sports MIDI. And we did sell two nice organs in January -- a great big Allen MOS-2 1105-DKC 3m to a fine church with an excellent traditional music program, and a self-contained 3m Church Organ Systems digital to a smaller rural church that still sings hymns. But other good organs are begging for homes. Some of our service customers who really need to upgrade can't be persuaded to spend just a few thousand dollars for a nice organ that cost $50K back in the 80's. It's much easier to bring organs in than it is to send them out!

    Sometimes I feel like I need to contact the Florida Flipper and see if he wouldn't like to bring a truck and just carry them all off. But then I may get a phone call tomorrow from someone out of the blue who's decided they want to move up to a nice older Allen or Rodgers. You just never know when that's going to happen, but it doesn't happen often enough.

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  • janvds
    replied
    Hi,

    I've been following this thread with some interest.

    Although I'm primarily active as a pipe organ builder and technician in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, I have been receiving an increased number of calls or inquiries whether or not I would be interested in a church's organ because it is no longer part of their worship style, the church is closing, etc.

    The scary thing is, since the beginning of March, I've received at least three inquiries from churches or individuals whether or not I am interested in their organs.

    Scenario A: This church 15 minutes from my shop couldn't justify the $750 per year to keep their pipe organ on their insurance policy as they only used the organ once a year for a couple of Christmas carols. They aren't ready to give it away, but would like to get something for it. A couple of nice ranks in it, but for the rest, an instrument that started out as typical of the late 1920s, reinstalled in the 1960s by a local amateur.

    Scenario B: This church was trying to find a home for their 1988 AOB organ, with 50 some audio channels. It's just simply "in their way" because their worship style has changed and they no longer use the organ.

    Scenario C: An amplified reed organ that needless to say, would only be a waste of my time.

    Scenario D: A very early Baldwin digital organ that, needless to say, would only be a waste of my time.

    To be honest, this has me wondering more and more if I've completely lost my mind to still be in this business. The above doesn't include a scenario last year where I remarked to a church that their set of Deagan chimes (installed in their 14 rank pipe organ) might fetch $500 on the used market. A couple of weeks later they replied that for $500 I could have the instrument in its entirety for $500.

    JVDS

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  • jbird604
    replied
    Yep. Sad. BTW, that Rodgers 805C is a nice organ, only about 20 years old, but certainly not worth anywhere near $9000 as-is-where-is. If I, as a professional organ rebuilder/reseller, had that organ in my shop, and after I renovated it and brought it up to original specs, and probably put new speakers with it, as the old ones would have severe foam rot by now -- after all this, and including delivery and setup, voicing with the Rodgers voicing machine, and with a warranty, I would be lucky to get that much for it. Probably would settle for much less. So somebody's dreaming. They'll be lucky to get $1000 for it as-is-where-is.

    And that Allen for $1000 is iffy. It's a MOS organ (a 200 series in the optional "B" console), and it has no speakers in the console, so there needs to be a pair (at least) of HC-12 speaker cabinets, but they are not mentioned here. Also, the cryptic note about the "wiring to the wall" needing work. Probably just needs a new power cord, but could mean that it was uncermoniously cut loose from wherever it was installed, and therefore the speakers were left behind. The amps could even have been damaged by a careless person cutting the wires with the power on.

    Such a shame in both cases. These are instruments that could be making lovely music, thrilling joyous worshipers, leading congregations in singing the great hymns of the faith. Instead, I know some folks who are staring blankly into space listening to some rank amateur rock band plunk out some of the most boring "music" ever made.

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  • Nutball
    replied
    Originally posted by beel m View Post
    I feel just as you do, John. So much talk about the decline in use of church organs, and in the number of organists- I certainly can't add anything to that.
    It would be nice to think that both these organs you spoke of are on the market because the church got a newer digital, or a pipe organ, but likely not. Things are SO different from 1970 when I started as a church organist, and 1973 when I started in the organ business...
    For a glimmer of hope, as I write I'm downloading Allen's new Youtube vid ("Church Organ Basics") which has something to do with pianists learning to play church organ. Dare I hope that this- church pianists switching to organ- will help keep alive the centuries-old tradition of organ music in churches?
    Pax, Bill
    Two churches near me are getting rid of theirs, and it doesn't sound like they are getting new ones. I wish I could afford the Rodgers. https://nashville.craigslist.org/msg/5471581157.html
    https://nashville.craigslist.org/msg/5464952289.html

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  • jbird604
    replied
    Yes indeed. So you can see how a "free" organ or even a "bargain" where you get 20-year-old Allen at 1/10 of the original selling price can turn out to cost you quite a bit more when it's all said and done. Dealers are accustomed to providing all these extras (at least they SHOULD be!) and their retail prices normally include allowances for these items, but used organs from dealers may or may not get the kind of deluxe setup the dealer gives his new organ sales.

    We who are lower on the food chain are the ones who can benefit from the current situation, as really nice organs become available for very little money. But there is a BIG caveat ... If you buy or accept as a gift a large church organ from the original purchaser, you are undertaking all the associated costs spelled out above. Don't expect all this service to come super cheap. Of course some of our forum members have done very well -- going after organs, hauling them home, making their own repairs, doing their own installations, voicing, etc. And that is commendable. And I don't begrudge any of the free advice and long-distance help that I've given out in that regard.

    But my little shop and others like us could not stay in business if we didn't make our normal wages plus a little profit when we do a turn-key installation of a used church organ. Sometimes I can make more money on the second time around than I did when I originally sold and installed the same organ 30 years ago when I was on the staff of the local Allen dealership. That has happened several times in recent years, when I was able to pick up for free or nearly free a nice Allen that I sold in the mid-80's for, let's say, $30K. I can turn it around and sell it today for $10K if not more. The buyer gets a super nice organ in virtually mint condition, carefully installed and voiced, and with a warranty, for a fraction of the cost of a new organ with similar specs and features. I make enough money on one transaction to keep the shop open another month or two. Win-win.

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  • organman95
    replied
    When it comes down to cost for moving the instrument, one must take into account the distance from seller to purchaser also. As an example, the Allen MDS-80S out in Cali, with just the moving costs added (to bring to Michigan), could probably easily add another $5k or more. Then there is the dealer fee for having whomever do the setup...

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